In 2013 I was diagnosed with severe Emphysema (lung disease) & was told I had the lungs of a 73 year old. It's degenerative & irreversible, along with my medication the best way to manage the disease was to stop smoking & start exercising. By doing this I can slow down the disease & maintain the fitness level I'm at rather than letting it take hold & then being unable to even tie my own shoelaces. That's not for me.
So I'm on the look out for a new exercise based hobby. Being an ex club swimmer that seemed the obvious choice but could see myself soon getting bored with that as I would a gym too & I thought why not try something new.....a new adventure. Turn a negative into a positive.
I stumbled across Krav Maga when reading a book & it was something I not heard of before, so me being me I 'Googled' it. Low & behold, my light bulb moment happened ( I don't have many.) Fitness, new hobby & something worthwhile learning......and it was on my doorstep.
Now my adventure starts.... I do the induction & get the T-.Shirt & we're off. My plan was two sessions a week & some swimming. The two sessions a week grew to three sessions a week. I'd turn up every lesson week in, week out. Try to learn a bit of what was taught to me & go home again. I wasn't interested in grading, it was just a hobby & I had my own incentives.
Fast forward six months.
Our instructor decided along with some friends to start their own club - a more reality based club. United Krav Maga Academywas born. Some of us decided our allegiances were with our instructor not the previous club so we followed.
Within the first few weeks we were learning to defend knife attacks, stick attacks, head locks, a whole load of stuff that would've taken years to have been taught to us previously. The attitude of United is why someone should have to have a certain level of grades under their belt to be able to defend themselves from the reality of today’s street crimes. You should be learning it from the beginning. Who can disagree with that?
There was a nice relaxed atmosphere at the club & many of us would socialise after each class. It had a completely different feel to it. The classes were more about learning the techniques at a slower pace & building it up rather than being a glorified fitness class with a bit of self defence thrown in.
I know I'm making this sound too good to be true, but that is how it was. For me though, my attitude was still 'this is only a hobby.' I still wasn't interested in grading mainly because I didn't think I'd be fit enough or if I was fit enough for D1 what about D2 & so on therefore what was the point in starting. Why can't I just turn up to each lesson & take away with me what was being taught? However, some people had other ideas, but I kept putting up the barriers, other club members were trying to encourage (I called it nagging) me to grade, my hackles would go up time & time again. This attitude though was being detrimental to me as I wasn't putting in the effort and not getting the most from the classes.
Then when grading was mentioned again I had my same 'ole' attitude, but one of the instructors asked me to consider grading. This threw the 'spanner in the works' for me. I thought I'd made it clear what my incentives were but on the other hand this was the nudge I needed, if he thought I could do it then why shouldn't I? It was make or break time for me. I either had to commit myself to it fully & embrace it or walk away. After much deliberation & lots of advice, support & encouragement from my fellow 'Kravers' & my nephew Mitch who has a better attitude than me I decided to go buy the gear, change my attitude & go for it. Then I had another blip.
Now my adventure really starts.
After getting over that blip & lots more encouragement from some of the other club members we turned things around. I started to put in more effort & I started to enjoy it more (not that I didn't enjoy it before, but I'm enjoying it for the right reasons.) Then came the time to book your grading which I kept putting off. Finally I booked. What's the worst that could happen? We all put in extra training thanks to our instructors & funnily enough I wasn't at all nervous. Because I'd been to the seminar at the beginning of our United journey and we were told it would probably be similar so I was quite relaxed about it. I liked the way the grading was organised like a big class. There was a good turn out for grading throughout. The United Academygot a 100% pass rate.
So where are we now?
I was asked 'Do I feel Krav has made a difference in as much as it is being successful for me?' Most definitely a YES. But the true answer is you will only ever find that out for real if you ever needed to use it and none of us want that to happen either. However, I do feel I'm at more of an advantage than those that don't do Krav and I'm more aware of my surroundings when out and about. If that isn't enough of an incentive for anyone, then to date I have lost 1st 11lbs & 8.5 inches from around my waist - that's in 10 months. Of course I now eat a much healthier diet, have cut down the alcohol intake by about 50% thanks to the 'Andy App', have been a non-smoker for 18 months & am very happy. Doing Krav now is no longer about my health, it's about Krav. There are no negatives in this paragraph only positives.
I have a D1 grade & have even booked the 2015 Winter Camp in Poland where hopefully I will become a D2. Did I think I would be doing this a couple of months back???? Noooo. And if I'm completely honest if it wasn't for the fact we have instructors that care and a good group of people amongst the club I wouldn't have graded nor would I be off to Poland. I am looking forward to seeing how far the adventure is going to take me.
I would like to thank everyone at Unitedfor their patience, time & support. I'm glad I got the nudge I needed. People say it's only the hard work you put in that gets the results but it's much more than that. It's a great support network amongst the club too that makes you want to put in the hard work.
And no I'm not after brownie points - you don't get brownie points at United Academy, you get results.
Success Stories: Jamie
My Krav Maga journey started just over two years ago after a family member saw a training session in Basildon. He text me and asked if I would go along with him. I’d often thought about taking up some kind of martial art or boxing training but kept putting it off. It was only after a health scare in 2010 that I realised putting things off was not a good policy, so I decided to give it a go. I was instantly hooked after my first lesson. I had already heard of Krav Maga through my mum who worked in a children’s secure unit. As part of her training they had to learn restraining techniques, which were taught by one of her colleagues who is also a Krav Maga instructor. Fast forward three years and I have passed my D5, under the expert tuition provided by Andy and John both expert level United instructors .I am looking forward to travelling to Poland in February for the winter camp, which will be 6 days of intense training followed by a day of testing. I’m able to train 2 or 3 times a week because my family are incredibly supportive, I have got two daughters aged 5 and 9. It can be tricky at times with a young family, but I start work early so I can finish early and spend a couple of hours with them before I go off to train. I hope to pass on not only the physical side of Krav Maga to my girls but also the whole ethos of being humble and avoiding situations that could lead to violence. I can honestly say I am more confident and much fitter than I have ever been, and I would urge anybody that is thinking about giving it a go, to stop thinking about it, and take some action as I know you won’t regret it.
Success Stories: Rob
I started my Krav Maga training just under four years ago at the tender age of 38, after I had become a bit disillusioned and bored with the gym and doing the same old routine. I was thinking about doing Jiu Jitsu or something similar for fitness and some kind of self defence, when I remembered someone telling me a few years ago of this secretive Israeli martial art called Krav Maga. I googled it and watched a clip on youtube of a TV program called The Human Weapon and I was immediately impressed by it, the rest is history. I started attending classes once a week and was immediately hooked! I then started going twice a week, then three, and decided I wanted to go through the grading process to really improve, as my job can sometimes be a bit volatile and Krav Maga really started to give me extra confidence. I recently travelled to Poland and attended the United Krav Maga World Organisation summer camp where I was trained and graded by some of the top Experts in the world, including Master Tomasz Adamczyk and achieved my Fighter level 2 in Krav Maga. It has taken lots of hard work and dedication, but I can safely say that I am fitter, healthier and more confident than I ever been! Why not give Krav Maga a go, it might change your life? It has mine... Rob.
Success Stories: Andy
Up until 5 months ago I had never done any form of self defence, martial arts, boxing etc. Krav Maga were 2 words that had no meaning to me at all until a friend told me about it and convinced me to go along to a seminar that was being held by the United Krav Maga World Organisation. Initially I was like yeah ok I’ll give it a go as it sounds interesting. As the day approached I was a little nervous and then on the day I was very nervous and did at one point think about leaving. Boy am I glad I stayed. It was amazing and my Krav Maga journey began. It was amazing how easy it was to understand and also how friendly everyone was towards me. Since that time I have become a regular at training sessions and my ability, confidence and determination have grown thanks to the expert instructors that we have. I have since taken my first grading and passed my D1 (Defender 1) grade and it was for me a very proud moment. I have now signed on to the winter camp course in Poland where we study under expert tuition and hopefully at the end will pass my D2 grade. Overall my time at United Krav Maga has been nothing but positive but there are a few things that make it an amazing place. The instructors are very approachable and my fitness level has improved so much that I am amazed at what I can do now compared to 5 months ago. But overall the thing that is always in the front of my mind is the people that I train with. They are not just training partners; they have become friends and are always there to help.
I would say to anyone who is not sure, that you should come along and have a try as you will never regret it.